In the summer of 1989, a group of folks from the Golden Plains were playing the then-new AD&D 2nd edition with a large group of people who had never heard of Amtgard before. When QWFWQ mentioned that he still had his gear in his car from the previous Saturday, everybody went outside so that the Golden Plains members could demonstrate.
The weapons came out, everybody oohed and aahd, and a couple of people stepped into the empty lot next door to have a fight. Before long, everybody present was swinging old-school Amtgard weapons (thick-gauge PVC, pipe insulation, furniture foam, and duct tape) and having a great time.
Then a police car came screeching up the alleyway behind the lot, sirens blaring and lights flashing. Everybody stopped what they were doing and stared, open-jawed and uncomprehending. Two more police cars came rolling in behind the group, out on the street in front of the vacant lot-- one car literally jumped the curb and slid to a braking stop inches from where the group was standing. Moments later, another two units came screeching into the neighbourhood to block the street's entrances at the nearest two intersections. One police officer actually unholstered his gun and told Maccalus to drop his weapon (Maccalus complied, faster than you can say Fireball x5!!!). All told, eight police cars, including two K-9 units, and a police helicopter eventually responded.
Apparently a neighbour had dialed 911 in a state of panic, explaining that there was a "gang war" going on in the lot across the street. Amarillo's finest responded appropriately to the report that had been filed, but all in all, it was probably overkill for a group of guys swinging padded sticks at each other.
Maccalus remembers that the police were genuinely embarrassed when they realized what was really going on. They huddled up for a moment or two, then came back and cited everybody present for misdemeanor assault. The group consensus was that the officers probably had to ticket somebody to justify the massive operation they'd undertaken against what turned out to be a harmless group of kids.
Charges relating to the Great Massacre were downgraded to 'Disrupting the Peace' when those cited showed up for a mandatory court appearance. Fines levied were approximately $90 per offender.
Those who survived the Massacre later wore it as a badge of honour. Reinholt, then Baron of the Golden Plains, considered creating a special award for its veterans. There was also some discussion of commemorating the Massacre with an annual event in the Plains. In the end, it was decided that paying homage to an incident in which pistols were drawn by authorities, and minors charged with misdemeanor offences, would NOT be in Amtgard's best interests.
For some reason, none of the newbies who were introduced to Amtgard that day (and ticketed in the process) ever elected to join the game!
Those thought to have been present at the Massacre include: